In her press conference, Svetlana Kuznetsova said that having an injury forced her to take some time off, and that time off was what she really needed. Today, in Melbourne, she made a strong comeback statement by advancing to the quarterfinals with a win over Caroline Wozniacki. Same Sveta as always--moving beautifully and producing stunning forehand shots, taking fans to the edge with a bit of a mid-match slump, and effortlessly entertaining throughout her press conrference.
Not surprisingly, the match went to three sets. Kuznetsova took the first one 6-2. Wozniacki picked up her level in the second, while Kuznetsova lost some of her aggression; Wozniacki took that set 6-2.
The third set was tense, and after Wozniacki went up 5-4, Kuznetsova went down 15-30. The Russian veteran held her nerve, hit one of the best forehand shots of the match to even the score at 30-all, and then held her serve.
Kuznetsova broke Wozniacki in the 11th game, and held serve to win the match. She hit 52 winners, and played almost perfectly (and very frequently) at the net. This is the Svetlana Kuznetsova who won the U.S. Open and the French Open with her big all-court game, nimble movement and impressive forehand. Because she has struggled so much with consistency and focus, her name is rarely mentioned these days. It's been a while since the Russian reached a major quarterfinal, and it's nice to have her back.
Credit should go to Wozniacki, who also produced some very good tennis, but once again, just wasn't aggressive enough. It was a high quality, very entertaining match.
Some things never change. Wozniacki argued for a long time with the umpire--as she frequently does--and, as always, the television commentators insisted this was "uncharacteristic" behavior and Wozniacki "never" does this. Personally, I don't care if she argues with the umpire (she has a way to go, though, before she reaches the Rennae Stubbs end of the Arguing with the Umpire Scale); I just get tired of hearing the commentators always say that she never does it.